Fish stocking

On May 3rd, 2021 the DNR performed an electrofishing shock survey on Lake Orono to help determine the fish population post-dredge. There were over 14 different species collected and the majority of the sport fish present were Yellow Perch, Crappie and Northern.

Stocking 2021

To supplement the current fisheries, the DNR approved stocking the lake with Bluegill Sunfish, Crappies, Yellow Perch, Walleye and Bass. They also offered to stock walleye fingerlings depending on availability of the fish at no charge. If we stock per their recommendations we will likely reach our target goal of replenishing the fish population in 3 to 5 years.

The supplier that was chosen to stock the fish has over 30 years of experience and previously stocked Lake Orono after the dredge in 1998. The 2021 fish stocking was funded directly through the Lake Orono Restoration and Enhancement (LORE) project with the logistics assistance of the OLID Board. The OLID has provided funding since.

The fish were stocked at staggered dates, due to timing of fish spawn, availability of adult fish and to transition them into the lake successfully. There have been several reports from all areas of the lake of spawning beds and thousands of baby fish that have hatched. Links to videos of stocking: and

Adult Blue Gill600200800
Blue Gill, 3-6″1,0001,6003,8006,400
Adult Large Mouth122032
Large Mouth Bass, 3-5″2,0002,000
Perch, 3-5″1,0008003002,100
Walleye Fry281,000*281,000
Walleye Fingerling6,120*2006,320
Adult Crappie230501,3452001,825
Grand Total300,477
*Stocked by

Future Stocking: The OLID plans to continue stocking each year until 2029 when the next schedule survey is performed by the DNR to determine what the fish population is at that time.

Catch and Release

In order to ensure success of the stocking, the OLID was given permission from the DNR and City of Elk River to post signs requesting that anglers practice voluntary catch-and-release while the stocking occurs. Our goal is to educate anglers so the new fish have a better chance at survival and spawning.

Successful Catch-and-Release per the DNR’s website:
Responsible catch-and-release fishing can help ensure continued quality fishing opportunities. Anglers can boost the odds of fish surviving catch and release by using methods that avoid internal damage caused by hooks, stress and being pulled from deep water.

Fish stocking sign
  • Fish hooked in the mouth almost always survive. Set the hook quickly to avoid hooking a fish deeply. Jigs, circle hooks and active baits like crankbaits are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth.
  • Use some restraint when fish are really biting, and it is a good idea to avoid deep water when planning to catch and release fish.
  • Have pliers ready that work well for taking hooks out. Cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish is also a good option.
  • Quickly land a fish to minimize a fish’s time out of water.
  • Handle the fish firmly but carefully. Wet your hands before touching a fish to prevent removal of their protective slime coating. Rubberized nets help, too.
  • Unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water, if possible, and support its weight with both hands or with a net when removed from the water. Never lift them vertically from the water.
  • Do not place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well.
  • Revive a fish by cradling it under the belly and gently moving it forward in the water until it swims away.
  • Do not release a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding heavily or can’t right itself.

The OLID also plans to continue the volunteer catch and release program until for the next few years as necessary to support the success of the fish stocking. This is a volunteer program that is promoted through education to the lake users online, through meetings and by signs posted around the lake. The Elk River Parks and Recreation department added a sign this summer to the boat landing.

General info

Lake Orono is fairly shallow but does have a couple of spots over 15 feet deep. The Elk River runs through it, therefore many of the fish are transient. Pan fish and game fish that are normally found in the lake include crappies, smallmouth bass, northerns, and occasionally a walleye or two.

For DNR fish surveys, please see: